Hell Hath No Fury

I’ve been tapped on the shoulder and reminded to look at the Furies (or Erinyes) particularly Megaera.[1] I really haven’t figured out what an ancient Greek chthonic energy wants with me yet, but I think I am developing a clue.

You see, recently The Bad Witch made a new witch friend and wasn’t really sure what to think of it all. I wasn’t sure if there was just a lot of bumbling going on or if this person was intentionally acting like a twat. So, like I do, I put together a little reveal spell that went a little something like this (given that X = intentional twattary):

If X = yes, then Y: If X = no, then Z. If, however, X = only sort-of, than Y/10+2.

Well, I got an awful lot of Y.

Not only did I get Y on the front I specified, I started seeing a lot of folks getting slapped with my “Y are you being a twat?” spell. I didn’t mean it. But to be fair, they brought it on themselves. They shouldn’t have been schmucking it up. And the “punishments” are not bad, BTdubs – mostly trivialities. But the incidents are too incredibly specific and my means of discovering each person’s happenstance is far too unlikely for me to ignore.

Now that my eyes have been opened, I see that I was far too trusting of a lot of people and far too dismissive of the effect I’ve had on some of the more foul-minded folks around me. I mean, The Bad Witch really tries to have a live-and-let-live (occasionally live-and-let-die) attitude. If I find that you are a bozo, I tend to just leave you alone. I figure life’s rough enough being you, there’s no need for further retribution from me, right?

I did a little fact checking and, not that I’m surprised, I verified each person’s commission of twattery. It’s enough to make a Bad Witch cry. I was wondering why, oh why, do these folks need a Y? And then I connected the dots and I saw a pattern – it was pretty obvious and it was not a surprise in the slightest degree. It’s the same pattern I’ve been chasing my tail over for years.

Sometimes you have to say, “Now dawg, when you chase your own tail, you have to expect to get bit in the arse!”

So, having gotten bitten yet again, I’m pissed off. Maybe at myself. I’ll let you know.

You see, aside from the original target of the spell (who is, by and large, unrelated to the rest of those getting aetherically shanked), everyone else is a bit removed from me and not really on my radar – and yet, they all have the same center of gravity (one that is decidedly on my radar). While that central personality seems to be, for the moment, unaffected, everyone else in orbit is falling like dominoes.

Here’s the irony of the whole thing. Currently, the falconer calling out the control signals at the center of the death-gyre is being “good.” But sometimes being good right now doesn’t relieve us of our bad pasts. We still have to pay our Wyrd, our Karma, our Fates. And who do we pay these to? You got it: the Furies. The Erinyes, the Norns, the Avengers.

Think of it like this: We throw a pebble into a pond, the pebble makes ripples, those ripples go on and on long after we’ve thrown the stone. When the ripple effect catches up to us, sometimes we have long-forgotten that we even threw anything at all. But it’s our Wyrd and we have to sew our cloth with the spindle of thread we create, right? Some people are so stone-headed, however, that they don’t see ripples as effects of having thrown stones and see those ripples as “persecution.” (Which is why TBW did a lot of black-work-soul-searching to make sure I wasn’t experiencing the ripples of my own long-forgotten twattery. Obviously, my big sin is auto-tail-chasing. Maybe one day a witch’ll learn a lesson, eh?)

Last night I had a talk with The Bad Husband and he reminded me that this Death-Gyre Falconer (DGF, for short) has rippled every pond in my life by throwing stones (and, sorry, mixing metaphors). DGF throws stones (sometimes at me, sometimes just in my pond, almost always offhandedly and carelessly – without any real intent) and the ripples go on and on. The Bad Husband and I were planning to expand our business venture, The Wyrd Sister, an online Botanica and Curio, to a brick-and-mortar store in town. Inexplicably, I got cold feet: “What if DGF throws a stone?” As it is, I’ve had to shield volleys aimed at my online retail presence, I’ve had to block incoming salvo aimed at my grove, I’ve had to repel a fusillade of tiny pebbles tossed like skipping-stones by a careless child. Repeatedly.

I wasn’t being “really injured” but I was being worn down. I have to admit, I got tired of petty hailstorms. At one point, I even temporarily threw my hands up in surrender (that didn’t last long, I’m not built for surrender if you can’t tell).

It’s almost as if She was just waiting for me to ask; I cried out, “Somebody, help me make this twattery stop!” And, who answered? Megaera.

This is only the second time something like this has happened to me. A few months back, Hestia showed up on my porch (unbidden) with a Tiffany Blue giftbox, a Seven of Cups, and a whuppin’-switch. Now, you have to understand; I am not geared toward a Greek or Roman or Egyptian pantheon. I am a Heathen, a sturdy Germanic girl (with a side of Mvskogee for spice). My patrons wear horns and raw sheepskins. But these days, whenever I ask for help, it’s a toga that shows up.[2]

Let me tell you a little about my new friend, Meg.[3]

This is Meg kicking some bee-hind on the North Frieze of The Pergamon Altar

The Furies or Erinyes were a lot like Dexter Morgan in that they punished those who got away with murder. If you committed a crime and somehow weaseled your way out of justice, the Erinyes found out. A victim of cosmic injustice[4] could ask for an intervention. I’m told that one of their particular pet-peeves was matri/patricide[5] but one might also land on the Erinyes’ naughty-list by oath-breaking, ingratitude, unfilial conduct, general disrespect to others, manipulations that challenge the “order of things” (I see this as accomplished by magickally overstepping ones’ bounds), callousness, and breaking the laws of hospitality.

Yea, that all pisses me the hell off too. So, basically, they are good Heathens like me.

I’ve also learned that Megaera, Alecto, and Tisiphone are “impartial and impersonal” which makes them excellent judges who are not swayed by doe-eyed pleas for “understanding.” I kinda like that about them as I am, admittedly, a softy. I also like it that they hound malefactors like an English Pointer on a blood trail until the offenders are either driven mad (with guilt) and/or die of illness or disease (if they refuse to admit their guilt).  Another thing I like is that the wrath of the Erinyes is unrelenting. It can only be placated through atonement. In other words, if you’ve effed up, you have to fix it. You can’t just let it go and say: “Oh, well. That bell can’t be unrung,” “It’s out there; I can’t take it back,” or “I can’t do anything about that now,” or “Sure, I’ve diss-ed you to others but I can’t change what they think of you based on my having repeatedly and relentlessly having slandered your name in their presence.”[7] Meg has made it perfectly clear to me that denying responsibility won’t fly with her and her sisters. Oh, and they do fly.

When she first showed up, I couldn’t imagine what the personification of a “jealous woman” was doing on my doorstep. Then I realized: both gratitude and envy are motivated by memory. Follow me on another etymological rant for a moment: All three of the Furies are motivated by resentment, a word that originates from sentire, “to feel.” Resentment is, then, the re-experiencing of or memory of a feeling; this feeling is then, necessarily, directed outward at another. If jealousy is defined (psychologically) as the fear of loss and its etymological basis is jalousie – a French term describing parallels having to do with imitation and emulation (but now, typically, applied to louvered blinds, go figure), then it makes sense to deduce that an envying person fastens onto the life of another and wishes for removal of their own situation and replacement with the situation of the other. They want to be parallel.[6]

Then, I got it. Megaera is not one who encourages jealousy, she is one who punishes people who commit crimes in the name of jealousy. I’m slow, I know. This isn’t my pantheon, folks. I’m learning as they show up.

So then I had a good laugh. Somebody wants my life? I can’t think of any justice better than to let them have it.

Follow me on this. My life is awesome. But I have busted my rump to have it this way. I sacrifice and I scrape and I make do and I work and I pray and I honor and I still have to get up at 5:30 in the morning to get the seemingly Sisyphusian ball rolling all over again. And I smile the whole frickin’ time. Even when I’m bitching about it.

I want to be a fly on the wall so I can watch someone who has only ever seen my life from the bright and shiny exterior realize that there is literal chicken shit to be cleaned, very real obstacles to be surmounted before coffee, much more compassion to be extoled before lunch than one would expect from a Bad Witch’s every-other-Tuesday, fears to be calmed, children to feed (generally three-times as many as escaped from my body), rewards to defer, books to read, complicated questions concerning the nature of demons (I’ve been teaching CM) to address without unnecessarily scaring the piss out of anyone, and new and strange deities to be venerated.

I want to watch someone with a constitution that allows such jealousy try to run a household on a budget the size of mine. I want to watch that one deal with an immune system that fights back. I want to watch the person who needs constant validation as they dig deep inside themselves to recognize that all they are getting is the pleasure of having “done the right thing.”

Best of all, I can’t wait to watch where Megaera throws her stones in their ponds.[8]

I feel better already.

Blessings, Quarks, & 93

The Bad Witch

[1] Like many other cultures’ personification of “Fate,” the Furies are three women: Alecto the unceasing, Tisiphone the avenging, and Megaera, the jealous.

[2] Please don’t write to tell me that only men wore togas and that both Hestia and Megaera are female. It’s a joke based on synecdoche, folks.

[3] Pardon me darlin’ if I get a little Norn on your pretty stola, it’s what I know.

[4] I always reckoned cosmic injustice was a possibility but my belief-system involving Wyrd kept me from being convinced. I’m starting to change my mind.

[5] This isn’t unique; every culture, including Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus, have a bit to say about all this too.

[6] A jealous person is one who wants to eat your soul. This person wants to become you, wants to take what you have and make it theirs, wants to strip-mine your life. They can and will if you let them.

[7] Ain’t that just a “Terrible Awful” thing for me to say?

[8] And TBW isn’t usually a fan of Gluckschmerz. This time I can make an exception.